Alive and well

Drew Stafford is busy trying to keep his roster spot on the best team in the NHL — the Buffalo Sabres.

Jordan Parise is busy making a name for himself as one of the best rookie goaltenders in the AHL.

But when I caught up with Stafford a couple of weeks ago, he wanted to make one thing clear to fans: "Red Seal Peach is still going strong."

Stafford said in his free time he has been recording guitar tracks, downloading them onto his computer, turning them into .mp3s and sending them to Jordan. They live in different cities, but Stafford said the two talk all the time and they are making progress on their record.

The hit song "Fabian" has been taken off their Web site, but there are a couple of new guitar-only tracks posted. Check them out at

If you’re interested in seeing Stafford’s progress on the ice, his first-career NHL goal has been posted on youtube:

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Erik Fabian update

At the weekly media gathering this afternoon, coach Dave Hakstol said that senior winger Erik Fabian probably won’t play in Friday’s exhibition against the U.S. Under-18 team, but he’s hopeful that Fabian will return for the Wisconsin series (Dec. 8-9).

"I wouldn’t rule him out just yet, but he’s doubtful," Hakstol said.

Fabian is practicing with the no-hit jersey this week.

He suffered an upper-body injury Nov. 11 against Alaska Anchorage, but played through the injury for the rest of the game.

Fabian didn’t play against Colorado College last weekend, but Hakstol said that Fabian "wanted to get into the lineup and do whatever he had to do Saturday. That’s the type of kid he is."

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New Sioux site

The Forum Communications brethren have teamed up to build a new Sioux sports site. Although it has been launched, it still is a work in progress. At the start there may be a few glitches, but it is far better than the old Sioux sports area we had on the old Web site.

You should be able to get news stories, Q&As, score updates, photo galleries and a link to blog entries from the Herald on the site. From WDAZ, you should be able to get video highlights and interviews. Best of all, it’s all in one place.

As I said before, it has just been launched and is still undergoing a few changes. Hopefully you all enjoy.

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Weekend review: Colorado College

UND ended its three-game losing streak and four-game winless streak with one of its best performances of the season Saturday night. Coach Dave Hakstol said he’s starting to see some good chemistry on the four lines. The top two lines have played together for several games now and the bottom two were sparkplugs Saturday. Hakstol said he was very pleased with the play of Chris VandeVelde and his line.

Looking back on the weekend:

Offense: A-. The eight-goal weekend blew away what UND did the previous two weeks. Three goals weren’t enough to win Friday, but most nights, they should be enough. On Saturday, the Sioux were buzzing almost all night.

Defense: B. The defense struggled moving the puck Friday night, Hakstol said, and didn’t have a strong, consistent game. Saturday night, however, the Sioux held Colorado College to 17 shots on goal. You have to go back to the Matt Greene-led D-corps of 2004-05 to find a performance that dominating.

Goaltending: B+. Philippe Lamoureux was solid in his first action in more than a month. Lamoureux probably would like Colorado College’s third goal Friday night back — a shortside goal from the bottom of the circle. But Lamoureux made a fantastic stop on McCulloch minutes earlier, kicking out his leg during a goal-mouth scramble. The lone CC goals on Saturday were tip-ins.

Fourth line: A. When UND marched to the Frozen Four during the past two seasons, the third and fourth lines were big contributors. It’s hard enough for teams to have to contain the T.J. Oshie’s, Ryan Duncan’s and Jonathan Toews’. When guys like Darcy Zajac, Rylan Kaip and VandeVelde are chipping in — physically and offensively — this team is tough to slow down.

Atmosphere: C+. The crowds were solid both nights for the students being absent (more than 10,000 each night). That being said, I think everyone missed the band and, of course, the cowbell guy.

Review of the three keys

1. Hold CC’s top line players — Scott McCulloch, Chad Rau and Jimmy Kilpatrick — to one goal per game. Fail/Pass. Colorado College moved Derek Patrosso to the top line for Kilpatrick this weekend. On Friday night, UND failed on this goal and lost the game. On Saturday night, UND passed and won the game.

2. Don’t get beat in the second period. Pass. In one of the big highlights on the weekend, UND corrected its second-period struggles. The Sioux scored in the second each night and held the Tigers without a second-period goal on the weekend.

3. Be on the positive side of the special teams battle. Pass. UND was +1 for the weekend. The Sioux weren’t on the positive side Friday night (it was even) and lost. Saturday, the Sioux scored the lone power-play goal and held the Tigers’ fourth-ranked power play scoreless.

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Gameday final: UND 5, CC 2

First period

CC 1, UND 0 — Brandon Polich (Jimmy Kilpatrick, Billy Sweatt) 8:16. Polich, charging hard to the net, tipped Kilpatrick’s shot over Lamoureux’s left shoulder.

CC 1, UND 1 — Darcy Zajac (Michael Forney, Brian Lee) 9:35. Forney collided behind the net with a Tiger defenseman and Zaba, who attempted to play the puck. Zajac picked it up and scored on a wrap around as CC defenseman converged on the net.

UND 2, CC 1 — Chay Genoway (Jonathan Toews, Ryan Duncan) 13:54. Duncan helped set up a scramble in front of the net. Genoway had a chance at it, then Toews, then Genoway scored with his backhand in the slot on his second chance.

UND 3, CC 1 — Matt Watkins (Chris Porter, Zach Jones) 14:07. Seconds after Genoway’s goal, Porter carried the puck in the zone and fired a shot that Zaba stopped with his pad. Watkins picked up the rebound and put it in for a two-goal sioux lead.

Second period

UND 4, CC 1 — Andrew Kozek (unassisted) :32. Kozek picked off a clearing attempt and scored with his backhand from the slot.

Third period

UND 5, CC 1 — Taylor Chorney (T.J. Oshie, Brian Lee) 9:29 (pp). Oshie dropped a pass to Chorney, who was pinching in behind Oshie. Chorney beat Zaba high to the glove side.

UND 5, CC 2 — Chad Rau (Lee Sweatt, Derek Patrosso) 14:29. Rau scored on a deflection, beating Lamoureux between the pads.

UND’s line chart

Chris Porter-Matt Watkins-T.J. Oshie
Ryan Duncan-Jonathan Toews-Chay Genoway
Andrew Kozek-Chris VandeVelde-Brad Miller
Michael Forney-Darcy Zajac-Rylan Kaip

Zach Jones-Taylor Chorney
Joe Finley-Brian Lee
Kyle Radke-Robbie Bina

Philippe Lamoureux

Colorado College’s line chart

Scott McCulloch-Chad Rau-Derek Patrosso
Billy Sweatt-Brandon Polich-Jimmy Kilpatrick
Cody Lampl-Scott Thauwald-James Branningan
Addison DeBoer-Braydon Cox-Mike Testwuide

Jack Hillen-Jake Gannon
Lee Sweatt-Nate Prosser
Kris Fredheim-Brandon Straub

Matt Zaba

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Gameday final: CC 4, UND 3

First period

CC 1, UND 0 — Braydon Cox (Jack Hillen, Addison DeBoer) 15:09. Cox beat Lamoureux high to the glove side with a wrist shot from the high slot.

CC 1, UND 1 — Chay Genoway (Kyle Radke, Matt Watkins) 17:08 (pp). Genoway scored just seconds into a power-play chance, firing a shot past CC goalie Matt Zaba stick side.

Second period

UND 2, CC 1 — Ryan Duncan (Jonathan Toews, Brian Lee) 14:22 (pp). Duncan put a shot on goal from the low circle and it happened to sneak between the legs of Zaba for another Sioux power-play goal.

Third period

UND 2, CC 2 — Jack Hillen (Billy Sweatt) 8:51 (pp). Hillen beat Lamoureux stick side with a wrist shot from the top of the right circle. The power-play goal found its way through traffic in front of the net.

CC 3, UND 2 — Derek Patrosso (Chad Rau, Brandon Straub) 14:20. Patrosso beat Lamoureux on the short side from the bottom of the left circle.

CC 3, UND 3 — T.J. Oshie (Ryan Duncan, Jonathan Toews) 17:24. Duncan set up Oshie in front of the net. Oshie showed patience, got the goaltender to commit, then beat him five-hole.

CC 4, UND 3 — Scott McCulloch (Jimmy Kilpatrick, Chad Rau) 19:00. McCulloch directed Kilpatrick’s centering pass past Lamoureux with his skate. The play was reviewed and upheld.

UND’s line chart

Ryan Duncan-Jonathan Toews-Chay Genoway
Chris Porter-Matt Watkins-T.J. Oshie
Andrew Kozek-Chris VandeVelde-Brad Miller
Ryan Martens-Rylan Kaip-Michael Forney

Zach Jones-Taylor Chorney
Joe Finley-Brian Lee
Kyle Radke-Robbie Bina

Philippe Lamoureux

Scratches: Erik Fabian (upper-body injury), Darcy Zajac, Hunter Bishop and Scott Foyt.

Colorado College’s line chart

Scott McCulloch-Chad Rau-Derek Patrosso
Billy Sweatt-Brandon Polich-Jimmy Kilpatrick
Cody Lampl-Scott Thauwald-James Brannigan
Addison DeBoer-Brian McMillin-Braydon Cox

Jack Hillen-Jake Gannon
Brian Connelly-Brandon Straub
Lee Sweatt-Kris Fredheim

Matt Zaba

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Three keys to Colorado College

In attendance tonight will be former UND media relations assistant and former Fargo Forum Sioux hockey writer, Mike Cummings. The last time Cummings made a return appearance, T.J. Oshie notched a hat trick. Oshie certainly would welcome the same this weekend.

As for the three keys:

1. Hold CC’s top line — Scott McCulloch, Jimmy Kilpatrick and Chad Rau — to one goal per game. This line has dominated for the Tigers early in the season. The three players have combined for about half of CC’s goals this season. Holding them down would be big no matter who plays in goal for the Sioux.

2. Don’t get beat in the second period. The Sioux have been fine this season in the first and third. The second has killed them. UND doesn’t need to win the game in the second — just don’t lose it there.

3. Be on the positive side of the special teams battle. This is an area that heavily favors Colorado College. The Tigers are ranked No. 4 in the country on both the power play and the penalty kill. They are +13 on special teams this season, while UND is -2 (second-worst in the WCHA). If the Sioux take this advantage away from Colorado College, it should lead to a good holiday weekend for UND fans.

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Happy Thanksgiving

Hope everyone has a fantastic Thanksgiving and eats far too much turkey. In honor of the holiday, here are 10 things Sioux hockey fans can be thankful for:

10. Ryan Duncan’s knack for burying the puck.

9. UND doesn’t have to wait, hope, rally voters and cross its fingers for a new rink.

8. The emergence of Michigan Tech and Alaska Anchorage, making every weekend interesting this season.

7. Brad Miller has become a go-to goal scorer.

6. The coaching staff has recruited well enough to where the Sioux should be WCHA contenders for several years to come.

5. Shattuck-St. Mary’s has done a nice job developing players (UND’s top four scorers are Shattuck alums).

4. Philippe Lamoureux is healed up and should be ready to go this weekend, if called upon. 

3. Erik Fabian’s heart, hustle and attitude.

2. Guys like Jonathan Toews, T.J. Oshie, Erik Johnson, Kyle Okposo and Travis Morin staying in school, giving us outstanding talent to watch.

1. Robbie Bina is back on the ice, looking like his old self.

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Lamoureux should be available

UND coach Dave Hakstol said Wednesday that he expects Philippe Lamoureux to be available for this weekend’s series against Colorado College.

Lamoureux has been bothered by a leg injury he suffered a month ago in practice. He’s missed the last six games, which have all been started by freshman Anthony Grieco.

Hakstol said he hasn’t decided who will start this weekend.

For more, see Thursday’s Herald.

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North Dakota high school season begins

As promised, I’ll touch on area high school hockey from time to time on the blog, too. And since the season is starting on the North Dakota side of the river, here’s a quick guide to the season:

1. Expect a rematch for the state championship. After last season’s title game, who wouldn’t want to see it again? Fargo South and Grand Forks Red River both lost several key players, but have enough to get back to the big game. Both schools seem to get new players to step up for the losses, too.

2. Grafton-Park River will be explosive even without the Campbell cousins. Paul and Thomas Campbell and their 119 points have departed, but the Spoilers should still be solid up front, led by Zach Miller (17-21–38), Tanner Hills (7-20–27) and Tanner Anderson (9-10–19). The Spoilers have potential to end up in the title game, but they must answer the question in goal.

3. Fargo South may not have lost Mr. Hockey. Paul Weisgarber, winner of last season’s award, is gone. But goalie Sean Deichert is back and figures to be one of the best players in the state. His save percentage last season was 93 and his goals-against average was 1.23. Deichert put up those numbers in his first season as a starter. Is it even possible to have a better season as a senior?

Keep an eye on…

F — Alex Simonson, GFC
F — Eric Meland, RR
F — Ian Powers, South
F — Tyler Klein, North
F — Zach Miller, GPR
D — Jarrett Galbreath, RR
D — Ryan LaDouceur, RR
D — Danny Wurden, South
G — Sean Deichert, South

Standings projection

1. South
2. Red River
3. Grafton-Park River
4. Devils Lake
5. Central
6. North
7. West Fargo
8. Shanley
9. Wahpeton

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